Monday, September 7, 2015

Remembering the past and working for the future -17 Evangelism Efforts and 400 Baptisms

It was a privilege and challenge being the local support person for the 20 people that came from the US and Uganda to be the speakers for seventeen evangelism sites around the Mbeya area.
There were delayed flights, missing luggage, jet lag and the normal challenges along with the challenges of trying to work in a different culture to manage so many sites to encourage people to know the true character of God.  We had excellent support from the local church conference and leadership.  Without them we could not have accomplished anything.
So for about 25 days my life was very, very interesting and many times exhausting.  Thank you everyone for all the prayers that kept each one of us going through the challenges.  Health challenges were not the least of them.  The dust was formidable at the evangelism site where I was each evening.  Above other jobs I had, I also drove speakers to three sites each evening and also assisted by doing the health lessons at one site.  We were blessed to witness about 20 baptisms at our site alone, and many other made decisions to prepare for baptism.  It is always touching to see people recognize Jesus as their Savior and to accept as Lord and to follow Him in baptism.

There was also something else that was super special about this trip.  The organizer, David Dobias, was the the first missionary to be stationed at Kibidula!  He was the pioneer for the mission work at the station where we now are stationed.  He and his family were the first ones to come after the land was donated by the previous owner, a farmer.
Mr. Dobias was a very influential leader all over Tanzania in those early years.  He held many leadership positions in church higher levels.
According to the time of life and challenges, he told me that he felt this would be his final trip to Africa.  He has been making trips to Africa for years doing missionary and evangelism work.  As part of this final trip, he brought two of his grandsons, who preached at two of the evangelism sites.  Also his daughter, who was BORN at Kibidula came the last week to visit the land where she was born.
Mr. Dobias said he was touched as he sees the growth in the churches and missionary sites where there had been so little, or nothing, when he first started the work.
We visited several sites which hold parts of his heart.  It was touching to me to be part of this final visit.  If it were not for his and his wife's willingness to come to Kibidula, who knows what might have been?  God used him and his family to start much work.

Mzee Sanga and family were so happy to see the Dobias family one last time.   His son, on the far left played with the Dobias' children.  Mzee Sanga was a very important local missionary to assist the the Dobias' as they started the work at Kibidula.  It was a very happy reunion, even if for only a few minutes.  
Meeting up with the Sanga family at Kibidula
 This was the Dobias home which is now part of the East Tanzanian Conference Headquarters. 
Home, many years ago
 Mr. Dobias buried Pastor Twing January of 1972.  His wife came back to the mission field and worked many, many more years to serve our Lord and the people of Tanzania.  She just passed away last year, after serving another 42 years!  This was one of the important stops he wanted to make, to see where they had placed his wife next to her husband.
Pastor Twing and Ethel Twing's resting place until the resurrection
 We made special efforts to find out if Elizabeth was still alive.  Elizabeth was the house worker for the Dobias family for many years.  She is blind now, but she was able to hear well and touch the family that she loves so much.  When she realized Mr. and Mrs. Dobias were there, with their daughter and two grandchildren, she whooped and hollered with joy.  She talked about how she once carried the daughter around on her back, and here now she was meeting her son.  She was delighted for the visit.
Elizabeth was so happy!
 We took a trip up to Bagamoyo.  This is the place where David Livingstone's body was brought before it was taken to Zanzibar and then back to Europe.  Mr. Dobias admires the work of Livingstone very much and he wanted to share this place with his family, one last time.
Bagamoyo museum. 

Bagamoyo - One last visit

The Livingston Tower in Bagamoyo

I praise God for giving me the joy of sharing in this trip with the Dobias family.  It was a very, very special time for them and for me as well.  May God find us all faithful!